There have been numerous studies looking at the causes of colon cancer. Multiple studies show that there is a correlation between the development of colon cancer and the Western diet. The Western Diet is “most prevalent in Westernized societies, whose diets are higher in animal products and processed foods and lower in unrefined plant foods”. It is also characterized by processed foods, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and alcohol. As well, it is believed that a pro-inflammatory diet can be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Further to diet, there are other factors, which may influence the development of colon cancer. Other factors may include genetics (family history, inherited syndromes and racial/ethnic background), lifestyle (inactive lifestyle, smoking, alcohol use), age, a history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a history of inflammatory bowel disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Foods to Avoid
Examples: hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat and meat-based sauces
Reasoning: Processed Meat can contain carcinogenic chemicals formed during the processing. Evidence indicates that carcinogens are proven to cause cancer . Processed red meat has nitrites and these are thought to cause cancer.
Recommendations: Eat little, if any, processed meat such as cold cuts, ham and bacon.
Examples: beef, pork, lamb, goat
Reasoning: When red meat is cooked at high temperatures, this results in the production of compounds that can cause colon cancer in people with a genetic predisposition.
Recommendation: Eat no more than 500g (cooked weight) a week of red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb.
Examples: juice, candy bars, most processed foods, pop
Recommendation: Avoid sugary drinks and processed foods. Read labels for hidden sugar (fructose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and more).
Examples: breads and wheat products
Reasoning: Gluten is known to cause inflammation in the body that if severe can lead to intestinal damage.
Recommendation:Eat alternatives to gluten such as grains like quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, millet etc.
Examples: fast food, packaged food, instant food
Reasoning: Processed foods are lower in nutrients and higher in refined sugars, flours and fats. Processed foods are often high in artificial ingredients that lead to inflammation.
Recommendation: Avoid highly processed foods.